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Old September 30, 2018, 03:08 PM   #1
Solovist
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Use of force question?

Hi, this is my first post and i hope this is the right forum. Let me start out by saying i live downtown in a relatively small town, but the city center isnt small. I live on the 2nd floor of a building with businesses on the 1st. There is a popular bar that is always trouble but it has gotten a lot worse. A month ago someone was shot in the head and murdered right below me on the street. Last night i once again heard a lot of yelling down on the street i looked out the window to see 5 men attacking one man, just pounding his face and head. My first instinct was to grab a weapon and go help, but i stopped myself realizing id probably end up shooting someone because theyre drunk and try to attack me for intervening. I did the next best thing and called the police.
This is Minnesota law on use of force.
09.06 AUTHORIZED USE OF FORCE.
§
Subdivision 1.When authorized.

Except as otherwise provided in subdivision 2, reasonable force may be used upon or toward the person of another without the other's consent when the following circumstances exist or the actor reasonably believes them to exist:

(1) when used by a public officer or one assisting a public officer under the public officer's direction:

(a) in effecting a lawful arrest; or

(b) in the execution of legal process; or

(c) in enforcing an order of the court; or

(d) in executing any other duty imposed upon the public officer by law; or

(2) when used by a person not a public officer in arresting another in the cases and in the manner provided by law and delivering the other to an officer competent to receive the other into custody; or

(3) when used by any person in resisting or aiding another to resist an offense against the person; or

(4) when used by any person in lawful possession of real or personal property, or by another assisting the person in lawful possession, in resisting a trespass upon or other unlawful interference with such property; or

(5) when used by any person to prevent the escape, or to retake following the escape, of a person lawfully held on a charge or conviction of a crime; or

(6) when used by a parent, guardian, teacher, or other lawful custodian of a child or pupil, in the exercise of lawful authority, to restrain or correct such child or pupil; or

(7) when used by a school employee or school bus driver, in the exercise of lawful authority, to restrain a child or pupil, or to prevent bodily harm or death to another; or

(8) when used by a common carrier in expelling a passenger who refuses to obey a lawful requirement for the conduct of passengers and reasonable care is exercised with regard to the passenger's personal safety; or

(9) when used to restrain a person with a mental illness or a person with a developmental disability from self-injury or injury to another or when used by one with authority to do so to compel compliance with reasonable requirements for the person's control, conduct, or treatment; or

(10) when used by a public or private institution providing custody or treatment against one lawfully committed to it to compel compliance with reasonable requirements for the control, conduct, or treatment of the committed person.

Section three seems to state that i have the right to use force when someone is being beat by multiple people. What im wondering is did i do the right thing in not going down? I was unaware of this law at the time, and even knowing it i feel it could have made the situation worse. Best case scenario im able to stop the fight without any issues, worst case, i have to shoot someone because they attack me(this implies i have followed Minnesota's deadly force law and made every attempt to retreat first). If i had gone down only intending to use force, but then deadly force is required, am i shielded by the law allowing me to assist someone?



TLDR; If i follow the law and use force to assist someone being assaulted, am i shielded by the law if i have to use deadly force BECAUSE I went down to help?
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Old September 30, 2018, 04:05 PM   #2
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solovist
Section three seems to state that i have the right to use force when someone is being beat by multiple people. What im wondering is did i do the right thing in not going down? I was unaware of this law at the time, and even knowing it i feel it could have made the situation worse. Best case scenario im able to stop the fight without any issues, worst case, i have to shoot someone because they attack me(this implies i have followed Minnesota's deadly force law and made every attempt to retreat first). If i had gone down only intending to use force, but then deadly force is required, am i shielded by the law allowing me to assist someone?
Most states have such a law, and the general rule is that you should be shielded. However, the circumstances of each incident are different, and how the responding police might view and interpret what they find upon arrival would certainly play a role. As a non-lawyer, I would say you would almost certainly have to expect to be taken to the station for questioning. You might be arrested, Then it would become a question of whether or not a jury agrees that your armed intervention was in accordance with the law.

There's an old saying: "You can beat the rap, but you can't beat the ride."

Whether or not you did the right thing by calling for the cavalry rather than laying Lone Ranger is an entirely subjective valuation, and there is no correct answer.


Quote:
TLDR; If i follow the law and use force to assist someone being assaulted, am i shielded by the law if i have to use deadly force BECAUSE I went down to help?
You never have to intervene, but the law you cited says you can, and it says you may use force to assist another person in resisting an [attack]. The law does not require that you be in the company of the person you choose to help. It says what it says, but the lawyers on this forum will no doubt remind us that what a law says must be viewed through the lens of what previous court decisions have determined that the law means. In other words, precedent, or common law.

By the way, the section you cited is for "AUTHORIZED USE OF FORCE." Does Minnesota lump use of a firearm in with other uses of force, or should you be looking at/for a different section of statute that addresses the use of "deadly" force?
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Old September 30, 2018, 04:07 PM   #3
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This is a legal question and as such, should be asked to a lawyer. It wont be a defense to prosecution if you take what someone says here to court to defend your actions.
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Old September 30, 2018, 07:11 PM   #4
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I completely understand and do not expect to use this in anyway as i thankfully have no need, but i just wondered if i was reading section 3 correctly, i completely understand that by injecting myself into the situation, especially with a weapon that ill not be met by officers as a friend right away. Thanks
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Old September 30, 2018, 08:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
, reasonable force may be used
This could be the key, or the trap...

Reasonable force? what is that in your state? Does it include "deadly force" or not? For that answer, you need more research. It could be named in some other law, or part of the law, or not. Professional legal advice costs, but its the only reasonably sure way to know.

Since deadly force is not directly mentioned in the law you quoted, it may not be spelled out in law, being left to the jury (or court) to define in each individual case. OR it might be spelled out in some other part of the law, and therefore not spelled out in the section you quoted.

Also, consider the likely intention of the law you did quote, allowing "reasonable force" to be used and where. Clearly the majority of the examples in the law are meant to address force BELOW the level of deadly force.

I would suggest that you consider the section about using force to defend others is meant for situations which are thrust upon you, and not situations where you have a choice of being involved, or not.

There are situations where if you involve yourself (such as start the fight) you use of deadly force is NOT considered justified.

The best answer will be from competent, qualified legal professionals licensed to practice law in your state. And the time to get that advice is BEFORE you are facing charges.

Good Luck
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Old September 30, 2018, 08:40 PM   #6
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There's more to the law than what you cited. There's a follow-up section:

Quote:
609.065 JUSTIFIABLE TAKING OF LIFE.

The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized by section 609.06, except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor's place of abode.
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Old September 30, 2018, 11:24 PM   #7
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Roman Wade has the correct idea. Local laws - even in the 'locality' of a state - are usually complicated by other laws, which may be contradictory or not depending on the judge.

Find a local attorney who deals in penal code (crime) laws. Not an attorney who deals mostly with deeds and wills. He will likely have the best knowledge and guidance.

All laws have a certain level of 'reasonability' underlying them. Likely, had you shot a couple of the attackers from your apartment window, you would seem much less reasonable than if you were on the sport and attempting to break up the conflict.

Also, you would be much more reasonable if this was happening in a location where police support or service was fifteen minutes or more away.

Talk with the attorney.
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Old October 1, 2018, 04:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
TLDR; If I follow the law and use force to assist someone being assaulted, am I shielded by the law if I have to use deadly force BECAUSE I went down to help?
There are two simple answers to this question, the first being 'ask an actual attorney with experience in your state with criminal law'; and the Second being "There is no such thing as being 'shielded by the law'".

Whether or not police choose to arrest a person or even cite someone for a weapon offense doesn't matter if the DA can charge someone with a crime. And vice versa. DA can choose not to do anything even if police make the initial arrest.

If the bar near your residence is really that bad, keep calling police about the things you see. Eventually they get tired of always going to a problem location and they could pressure the bar owners to do something to clean up their place of business. Alternatively your state or municipalitys alcohol control board could be contacted so they could be made aware of the problems as well. You might be surprised what a bar would be willing to do in order to keep their liquor license in good standing.
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Old October 1, 2018, 11:04 PM   #9
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This is not legal advice:

Generally, most states have laws that allow the defense of 3rd parties, and most states allow the use of deadly force to prevent death or grievous bodily injury. Some states have a "duty to retreat" that, in simplified terms, means one should not use force if they can reasonably avoid it.

All that said, if you see multiple people severely beating another, that person is arguably in danger of death or severe injury. As such, it can be argued that force (including lethal) would be justified to end such an unprovoked attack (this is a sticking point in defense of others...sometimes you don't know who the innocent party is). As such, you would probably (but not definitely) be justified in using force to stop the attack. If no other option existed, you may be justified in using lethal force to stop the attack on the 3rd party.
***Of course, at the end of the day, you don't get to decide if what you did was legally justified. The police, DA, or jury gets to decide that!

If you do use lethal force, there is a high probability that it will incur months of legal work and tens of thousands of dollars in expenses, even if you were justified.
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Old October 1, 2018, 11:22 PM   #10
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In my opinion the phone was the best tool at your disposal,
And prevented you from becoming part of a likely no win situation.
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Old October 24, 2018, 07:35 AM   #11
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IMHO, if you aren't being directly threatened, and you go down and shoot a guy who's beating the crap out of another, but you aren't directly threatened..better have a good lawyer, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.
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Old October 24, 2018, 08:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roamin Wade
This is a legal question and as such, should be asked to a lawyer. It wont be a defense to prosecution if you take what someone says here to court to defend your actions.
It won't be a defense against prosecution if a lawyer or even your friend the judge tells you it's okay. There's virtually no such thing as defense against prosecution other than not ever doing anything you might be prosecuted for. If you are prosecuted, even a lawyer having told you [beforehand] that what you did was legal isn't much of a defense in court. If lawyers didn't disagree on the law, there would never be any trials or lawsuits.
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Old October 25, 2018, 11:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
It won't be a defense against prosecution if a lawyer or even your friend the judge tells you it's okay. There's virtually no such thing as defense against prosecution other than not ever doing anything you might be prosecuted for. If you are prosecuted, even a lawyer having told you [beforehand] that what you did was legal isn't much of a defense in court. If lawyers didn't disagree on the law, there would never be any trials or lawsuits.
For this, AB, I wish we could like posts here. This is very well said and plainly stated.
I'll say that OP would absolutely be justified in intervening in a 5 on 1 scenario where the 1 is in serious danger. The issue is, you have to use REASONABLE force. As 44amp said earlier...

Quote:
This could be the key, or the trap...

Reasonable force? what is that in your state? Does it include "deadly force" or not? For that answer, you need more research. It could be named in some other law, or part of the law, or not.
I'm not a lawyer, but I deal with the law and can comfortably answer this. "Reasonable force," "Reasonable actions," etc. is entirely subjective. I don't know every law, statute, penal code, etc. in every state. I do know that "reasonable force" is rarely defined by statutory law and is actually a term coined from Graham v. Conner, as a further clarification of Tennessee v. Garner. In that, "Reasonable Force" is defined by SCOTUS as "Objectively reasonable." It is supposed to be what a "reasonable" person in similar circumstances would do. The issue is, what a prosecutor or cop (who may decline to charge or decide to clear someone claiming self defense as a personal decision) or a jury (if you are charged and tried) views as a "reasonable person" is entirely subjective on it's face. Some folks think it's ok to shoot someone automatically if they feel their home is being invaded. Well, if that person did, in fact, break in your house with you there you probably won't face much resistance in most states (depending on circumstances). If it was Neighbor Nelson who has a key coming over because he and the wife are fighting, and you shoot him without trying to identify your target... well things get murky. The problem is, many people will see neighbor Nelson's slaying as reasonable as the homeowner felt as though he/she was in danger... but many others may feel that you should have made more of an effort to identify before just blindly shooting neighbor Nelson. The "reasonable force" being based on "objective reasonableness" is fallacy. There are numerous cases on this being subjective just in my county alone. In one, a homeowner came home to find a burglar was loading his belongings in the back of the burglars truck. The burglar tried to run, and the homeowner actually pinned him to the garage using his vehicle. The burglar died. Homeowner was never charged, as it was viewed as "reasonable force." Some time later, an individual was charged and convicted of shooting one of his acquaintance because the acquaintance said he was going to be back and he was going to kill him. Acquaintance leaves and returns 30 minutes later, makes the statement to defendant "today is your day M-fer" and defendant shoots and kills him. As you can see... it isn't simple and there is no telling whether you will be charged or not.

More to OPs point. A "Reasonable person" would be very cautious about entering 5 to 1 odds. They would also be quicker to be justified in using deadly force if they did become involved in an altercation. At the end of the day, I encourage others who are willing to intervene to try and protect others. Do so wisely, with your eyes wide open, and PLEASE try some verbal judo before resorting to violence. Learn it. It works.
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Old October 26, 2018, 08:20 AM   #14
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I do understand

Understand and appreciate that seeing someone being beaten and not acting to help or "save" that person goes against our own personal moral code. Not to mention the right thing to do as a good citizen.

If this is happening right below on the street outside your window?

I think I would purchase a bullhorn and keep it handy near the window. Right next to my phone to call 911.
There is something special about a command to break up the fight coming across loud and clear from a bullhorn.

Not likely you could be charged with anything greater than disturbing the peace.
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Old October 27, 2018, 05:47 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by 5whiskey View Post
. . . .I'm not a lawyer, but I deal with the law and can comfortably answer this. "Reasonable force," "Reasonable actions," etc. is entirely subjective. . . .
I'm afraid that you'd be wrong. The "reasonable man" standard is entirely objective, not subjective. Under that standard, the judge or jury is to determine whether a "reasonable man" in the actor's shoes would have done, would have believed, etc. A subjective test, depends on what that actor actually believed, what information he or she possessed, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5whiskey View Post
. . . . I don't know every law, statute, penal code, etc. in every state. I do know that "reasonable force" is rarely defined by statutory law and is actually a term coined from Graham v. Conner, as a further clarification of Tennessee v. Garner. In that, "Reasonable Force" is defined by SCOTUS as "Objectively reasonable." . . . .
You are correct about the use of the "objectively reasonable" standard in Graham v. Connor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5whiskey View Post
. . . .It is supposed to be what a "reasonable" person in similar circumstances would do. The issue is, what a prosecutor or cop (who may decline to charge or decide to clear someone claiming self defense as a personal decision) or a jury (if you are charged and tried) views as a "reasonable person" is entirely subjective on it's face. . . . .
That might be an issue with it, but it's not the issue, in the sense of a "legal issue."
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Old October 27, 2018, 02:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solovist View Post
....What im wondering is did i do the right thing in not going down? I was unaware of this law at the time, and even knowing it i feel it could have made the situation worse....
Staying put and calling the police was probably the best idea under the circumstances.

Intervening in defense of another can raise complex complex issues, and what would constitute an appropriate response is highly dependent on (1) exactly what is happening and how it is happening; (2) how well you really understand what is going on; and (3) what your true skill level is.
  1. This has been discussed at length on this board, including here, here, here, and here.

  2. The threshold question must always be is, "Do you really know what is actually going on?"

    1. You might be legally justified in using lethal force in defense of others, but in doing so, you generally step into the shoes of the person you are defending. If that person would have been justified to use lethal force to defend himself, you would be justified in using lethal force in his defense. But if not, your act of violence would be a criminal act subjecting you to prosecution, conviction and jail (in some jurisdictions you might still avoid legal liability if you made a reasonable mistake).

    2. So if you are considering using force in defense of someone, are you sure you know what happened? Are you sure you know who the original aggressor was? Are you sure that the person you intend to help is the innocent good guy? If you think you know, but are wrong, you are risking jail and your family's future.

      1. You might think a kid is being kidnapped, but no one is going to be giving you the key to the city for shooting the father taking his kid, in mid-tantrum, outside for a "time out.

      2. The guy you think is beating up an old lady might be a caregiver trying to get a confused and combative Alzheimer patient out of traffic to safety.

      3. You think that a scruffy bum is beating up some guy, but you won't get a medal for shooting an undercover cop trying to arrest a pimp who is resisting. You'll be going to jail instead.

      4. And you certainly won't be getting any congratulations if you injure an innocent bystander in the process.

      5. And if you think you know, but are wrong, you will be shooting the innocent good guy.

    3. If you can't be absolutely sure what's going on, you can still do a few things that could help while minimizing jeopardy to you and minimizing the risk of making hash of things.

      1. Call 911,

      2. Be a good witness

      3. Take notes,

      4. Take photos,

      5. Let those folks involved in the apparent conflict know they've been seen,

      6. Be prepared to defend yourself if necessary.

    4. There's an adage from medicine which applies here. "First, do no harm."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solovist View Post
...TLDR; If i follow the law and use force to assist someone being assaulted, am i shielded by the law if i have to use deadly force BECAUSE I went down to help?
First, let's be clear that intervening isn't necessarily following the law. The law doesn't require you to intervene. The law gives you some protection if you choose to use force to try to help some innocent person (understanding that you can still have downside risk if the person you help actually isn't innocent).

As far as you being protected, that again depends on exactly what is happening and how it is happening.
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Old October 27, 2018, 03:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Spats McGee
I'm afraid that you'd be wrong. The "reasonable man" standard is entirely objective, not subjective. Under that standard, the judge or jury is to determine whether a "reasonable man" in the actor's shoes would have done, would have believed, etc. A subjective test, depends on what that actor actually believed, what information he or she possessed, etc.
I respectfully disagree. The law may regard the reasonable man standard as "objective," but on a jury of twelve human beings, I respectfully submit that no two will ever agree on exactly where to draw the line between "reasonable" use of force and "unreasonable" use of force. The line isn't defined in the law, it is determined by a consensus of the jurors in each case. That is absolutely not objective. And when you say that "A subjective test, depends on what that actor actually believed, what information he or she possessed, etc." -- isn't that what a determination of what a hypothetical reasonable man would have done under the same circumstances and possessing the same information is all about? It might be reasonable for this hypothetical reasonable man to shoot a stickup artist who is pointing a gun at a cashier in the corner Stop-n-Rob, whereas it probably isn't reasonable for the hypothetical reasonable man to shoot a guy who is engaged in a verbal (only) dispute with a female on a street corner. The first case is fairly obvious. In the second, the defendant may have believed that the male was going to assault the female, so he shot him. The jury will then have to decide whether or not that belief was reasonable, based on the information that the defendant had available to him at the moment.

Best hypothetical: A person uses a firearm (lethal force) to defend himself under less than textbook conditions. He is charged and tried. The trial results in a mistrial because the jury can't decide whether or not a "hypothetical reasonable man" would have shot the alleged assailant under the same circumstances. If the jury can't agree on whether or not the use of force was reasonable, how can the standard be objective?

But ... the prosecutor isn't happy, so he takes it to another trial. This time the jury votes to acquit. Meanwhile, down the hall in another trial, a defendant in a mirror image case is convicted.

Objective standard? No.

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Old October 28, 2018, 05:48 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
I respectfully disagree. The law may regard the reasonable man standard as "objective," but on a jury of twelve human beings, . . . .
When I played defense, I always tried to keep cases from getting to the jury. Disagree if you will, but SCOTUS uses an "objectively reasonable" standard in use of force cases. It has done so for years, and this still holds true today.
Quote:
In Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396, 109 S.Ct. 1865, 104 L.Ed.2d 443 (1989), the Court held that the question whether an officer has used excessive force “requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each particular case, including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.” “The ‘reasonableness' of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.” Ibid. And “[t]he calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments—in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving—about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.” Id., at 396–397, 109 S.Ct. 1865.

Kisela v. Hughes, 138 S. Ct. 1148, 1152, 200 L. Ed. 2d 449 (2018)
In the ordinary usage of the word "objective," we tend to think something like "measurable by immutable standards" (though that's my paraphrase, not taken from a dictionary). In legal terms, all we're really talking about is "without regard to the actor's intent:"
Quote:
As in other Fourth Amendment contexts, however, the “reasonableness” inquiry in an excessive force case is an objective one: the question is whether the officers' actions are “objectively reasonable” in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation. See Scott v. United States, 436 U.S. 128, 137–139, 98 S.Ct. 1717, 1723–1724, 56 L.Ed.2d 168 (1978); see also Terry v. Ohio, supra, 392 U.S., at 21, 88 S.Ct., at 1879 (in analyzing the reasonableness of a particular search or seizure, “it is imperative that the facts be judged against an objective standard”). An officer's evil intentions will not make a Fourth Amendment violation out of an objectively reasonable use of force; nor will an officer's good intentions make an objectively unreasonable use of force constitutional. See Scott v. United States, supra, 436 U.S., at 138, 98 S.Ct., at 1723, citing United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218, 94 S.Ct. 467, 38 L.Ed.2d 427 (1973).

Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 397, 109 S. Ct. 1865, 1872, 104 L. Ed. 2d 443 (U.S. 1989)
Now, we have to be a little careful here, for a couple of reasons. First, these are federal civil rights cases. These are not criminal cases. I got into this thread only on the issue of whether "reasonable" was an objective or subjective standard.

Second, one of the recurring arguments that I routinely heard civil rights cases is whether we're talking about a "reasonable man" standard, or a "reasonable officer" standard. Both are objective tests, but the reasonable officer has a great deal more training and experience in the use of force and police matters than the reasonable man.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
I respectfully disagree. The law may regard the reasonable man standard as "objective," but on a jury of twelve human beings, I respectfully submit that no two will ever agree on exactly where to draw the line between "reasonable" use of force and "unreasonable" use of force. The line isn't defined in the law, it is determined by a consensus of the jurors in each case. That is absolutely not objective.
See my comments on the definition of "objective" above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
. . .And when you say that "A subjective test, depends on what that actor actually believed, what information he or she possessed, etc." -- isn't that what a determination of what a hypothetical reasonable man would have done under the same circumstances and possessing the same information is all about? . . . .
Perhaps I should have been clearer. In use of force cases, subjectivity and objectivity revolve around intent. In the civil rights context, motions for summary judgment routinely have affidavits attached, laying out exactly what an officer saw, heard, knew, etc., and then arguing what what the officer did was reasonable. Those are argued to the judge, not a jury. (Again, though, that's federal civil rights practice, not a criminal case.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
. . .It might be reasonable for this hypothetical reasonable man to shoot a stickup artist who is pointing a gun at a cashier in the corner Stop-n-Rob, whereas it probably isn't reasonable for the hypothetical reasonable man to shoot a guy who is engaged in a verbal (only) dispute with a female on a street corner. The first case is fairly obvious. In the second, the defendant may have believed that the male was going to assault the female, so he shot him. The jury will then have to decide whether or not that belief was reasonable, based on the information that the defendant had available to him at the moment.
The shooter's belief may be a subjective matter, in the sense of being "internal to the shooter," but the question of whether that belief was reasonable is a separate question, tested by an objective standard.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
Best hypothetical: A person uses a firearm (lethal force) to defend himself under less than textbook conditions. He is charged and tried. The trial results in a mistrial because the jury can't decide whether or not a "hypothetical reasonable man" would have shot the alleged assailant under the same circumstances. If the jury can't agree on whether or not the use of force was reasonable, how can the standard be objective?

But ... the prosecutor isn't happy, so he takes it to another trial. This time the jury votes to acquit. Meanwhile, down the hall in another trial, a defendant in a mirror image case is convicted.

Objective standard? No.
Juries may not be objective, but the standard is (supposed to be). In court, I'd be looking for jury instructions that would help ensure that the standards are properly applied, or an appeal.
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Old October 29, 2018, 11:59 AM   #19
5whiskey
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The "reasonable man" standard is entirely objective, not subjective. Under that standard, the judge or jury is to determine whether a "reasonable man" in the actor's shoes would have done, would have believed, etc. A subjective test, depends on what that actor actually believed, what information he or she possessed, etc.
I understand my error. I was not strictly speaking in the context of a legal definition. Not saying that said legal definition is not important. At any rate, determining whether an action was "reasonable" or not still asks the individual making the determination to use their own subjective views as to what is reasonable or not reasonable.
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Old October 29, 2018, 01:11 PM   #20
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First, defining the standard as based objectively on the hypothetical reasonable person means that the personal, subjective, and quite possibly idiosyncratic assessment of the defendant is not controlling.

Second, since members of the jury must agree on the verdict, the question of whether the defendant's actions were reasonable at least requires that the members of the jury reach some consensus on the question. So the conclusion will not be based solely on the private, subjective, perhaps idiosyncratic assessment of any one juror.
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Old October 29, 2018, 10:23 PM   #21
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Second, since members of the jury must agree on the verdict, the question of whether the defendant's actions were reasonable at least requires that the members of the jury reach some consensus on the question. So the conclusion will not be based solely on the private, subjective, perhaps idiosyncratic assessment of any one juror
This is true, however juries are funny creatures sometimes (as I'm sure you know). I have sat in on cases that were slam dunk (seemingly), that were found not guilty or mistrailed. Likewise, I have sat in on a case where there is no way I would convict, yet they returned a guilty verdict in less than an hour. But alas I am going into the weeds.

What is reasonable is inherently subjective. However I understand the "Objective reasonableness" standard and what it means. I also think it works quite well in the confines of appealate courts hearing cases based off of case law where the matter is fully understood. Not as much when applied by cops, prosecutors, State District Court Judges, and juries. IMO. In the end, the trier of facts are asked to determine what is "reasonable." Great care must be taken when your fate rests on what another person thinks is reasonable... or not reasonable.
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